Everything you need to know about the magnificent Victoria Falls; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Victoria Falls is one of southern Africa's most popular tourism attractions and are a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the seven wonders of the natural world. One of the largest waterfalls in the world, the falls are also known as Mosi-oa-Tunyawhich means "smoke that thunders" after the large amount of mist or smoke that is generated from the water plummeting over the cliff and into the gorge.
The Victoria Falls are located on the border of Zmibabwe and Zambia in southern Africa. Visitors to the falls can gain access from both the Zamibian and the Zimbabwean side and can travel from one country to the other across the bridge over the falls.
The two main towns are Livingstone on the Zamibian side, and Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side. There are two national parks protecting the falls. The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park on the Zambian side that covers 66km2 (16 309 acres) and the Victoria Falls National Park on the Zimbabwe side that extends for 23km2 (5 683 acres). Right next to the Victoria Falls National Park one will find the Zambezi National Park.
Origin of the Name
The Victoria Falls were given their name by Dr David Livingstone when he came across them during his exploration into Africa between 1852 and 1856. Livingstone named the falls after the reigning British monarch at the time; Queen Victoria.
The Victoria Falls are formed when the Zambezi River, which originates in northern Zambia, plummets in a single vertical drop of 108 metres (354 feet) over a 1 708 metre (5 604 feet) wide basalt rock face forming the largest sheet of falling water in the world. While the falls are not the highest or the widest waterfall in the world, they are considered the largest.
Travelling to Victoria Falls
There are daily flights from Johannesburg, South Africa to both Livingstone in Zambia and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. There are also select flights available from Windhoek in Namibia. Alternatively visitors can take a bus from Harare to Livingstone or Victoria Falls. Once on the one side of the falls visitors are able to purchase a day permit from the border control to cross the border and view the falls from the other side. Single entry visas will need to be purchased every time you cross the border.
Best Time to Visit
The area around Victoria Falls experiences two seasons, the rainy season and the dry season. The rainy season occurs from November to April with the dry season taking up the rest of the months. During the rainy season the additional water and mist in the air can make viewing the falls, especially the base, almost impossible.
The months of June and July are considered the best time to visit as the water levels are high enough for visitors to gain the impact of the splendour of the falls with the best visibility. As the weather moves into the dry season the amount of water going over the falls diminishes but this also opens up the opportunity of walking across the falls which is considered an incredible experience.
by Katie Findlay